Tennis Canberra serves up an ace: by Brand Canberra
It’s official – Australia has got tennis fever. With the Open kicking off in Melbourne this week, fans across the nation are rallying behind born and bred Canberran, Nick Kyrgios, as he stakes his claim to the title… Full article click here
Credit: Brand Canberra
Christmas Party Update – Pending Weather – Saturday December 2nd
Christmas Party Update – Pending Weather – Saturday December 2nd
Friday 2:28pm – Saturday December 2nd is scheduled to rain. Unfortunately this is the day of our Christmas Party. We are going to give it every chance to go ahead however if we cancel due to wet weather you will need to check this link.
If we do cancel we still want to celebrate and will host a Summer Party in January or early February as we still want to say thank you to everyone in the Tennis Canberra family.
For now lets cross our fingers and toes and hope that the weather holds off.
Robbie Manzano – Happiness is the key to success – 2016 in review
Robbie Manzano – Happiness is the key to success – 2016 in review
“Success is not the key to happiness, Happiness is the key to success” It’s hard to pin point why this year was so successful. Twenty-sixteen was a break out year for everyone at Tennis Canberra. From our development juniors to the maturation of our coaches, the academy has really come to life. Everything good stems down to one thing and one thing only… And that’s just love.
Every challenge, every problem and every issue was dealt with a lot of heart and passion. We are not perfect and there are many things that went wrong however when you look at things from a number of perspectives and take the time to process things the answers become clear. Consequently a potential messy situation becomes a learning opportunity for all involved.
Good coaches are hard to find…
From Avi who manages our core hours, to Jono who takes charge of our Monday evenings and Fionn who wakes up early on a Saturday to keep the energy up to finish the week, we are blessed to have the experience we have. Those in the tennis industry know the value of a good coach and having a network that helps us out when needed has given us the opportunity to run programs at 5 tennis clubs, visit over 10 schools and given me the chance to help out Tennis ACT and fellow head coaches. Our casual coaches and friends are just as important.
Massive thanks to the Wynan bro’s, Big Scott, Sam, Jess & Alex. Without you guys our core coaches would not be able to take time off during the year and work on larger scale projects. The biggest thanks this year goes to Myles and James. In a recent blog I’ve explained how James has impacted Tennis Canberra for the better and I want to thank him one last time. Aside from my brother, Myles was the first coach that has helped me. He’s seen the academy grow and how it stands today. He’s professionalism is second-to-none and has given me the comfort to push for growth.
I’m no business man but I love learning…
When I launched Tennis Canberra I had no idea what to do and how things work. I just knew that if I had a good product and do it with heart people will join. I was 100% right however with growth comes expectations and managing multiple arms of the business is all new to me. Making sure our coaches continue to improve, looking after our players that have been with us from the start whilst integrating those new to the game is not as easy as “A-C-B or 1-2-3” (let’s see if you can read between the lines). Decisions need to be made not daily but by the hour and having the “that that’s just the way it is” mentally has really helped when things haven’t gone our way (and yes like all business there have been some disappointments in 2016).
“Happiness is really the key to success”
The show must go on and looking back at what we’ve accomplished should be celebrated. A well deserve rest is needed to process how lucky we really are because we really enjoy what we are doing. We are proud of each and everyone we interact with as success is not seen in the 100km down-the-line forehand or the 300 revaluation out-wide kick-serve (although that’s pretty cool) but seen in the way we work together to become better people. I always tell my developing juniors “learn how to learn and respect those that want to help you and I bet you will be successful”
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
On that note, I do want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe New Years Break especially those who are traveling. We will be back Monday the 16th of January for a Aussie Open Junior Holiday Camp and back for Term 1 Coaching on the 30th of January. We’ve had players already sign up for our Summer Sessions check them out and be ready when tennis fever hits in 2017.
More Than Tennis – Good Coaches Are Hard To Find: We wish you well James Thorp!
Hold on to good coaches they say… I’m happy to let them go!
Good coaches are hard to find especially in the Canberra Tennis industry. It’s just not true when people say “anyone can coach tennis”. There are certain aspects a coach must have when training players of all ages and abilities. Experience, passion and patience are three important traits one must have to be successful in this industry. James Thorp has all this plus a whole lot more. With his move to Sydney in 2017 Tennis Canberra will surely miss what James brought to the table.
Before I give James all the praise I can give I want to give you a background on why I’m so proud of our tennis family and the respect we have for each others success.
Risk it for the biscuit!
Before Tennis Canberra came to life I was in a similar situation to James. I was restless and ready to take risks with my passions and dreams. This energy was built up so much it actually turned to frustration eventually turning into a feeling of spite towards those around me.
Unfortunately I didn’t have the blessing or support to move forward from those who groomed me. This tore friendships and left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt sorry for those around me as I wasn’t the same person I am now.
As a major decision maker (I’m no boss) of Tennis Canberra I knew there would be times where I would have to face similar challenges and I thank my lucky stars I experienced what I did so I would feel joy rather than resentment as I knew how to handle to situation.
James came to me a couple weeks ago with his plan to head to Sydney in 2017. He added that he did not want to leave me short-handed for the busiest time of the year and wanted to coach for the first term of 2017. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, I didn’t care he wanted to leave but the respect to even consider staying on-board during peak season to make our lives easier shows the person he is.
A smile came to my face because I felt the same energy when I was ready to roll back in the day. I alerted Avi a week later keeping things quiet and professional. I remember it clear as day and mention “I bet James will leave sooner that later, so lets start preparing”.
One day later, James asked me “if it’s possible, I would love to go to Sydney in the new years”. With a rye smile I said “of course and if you need anything in the meantime we’ll sort you out”.
We were lucky to have a true professional…
James was important for the growth of Tennis Canberra in 2016 and those that coached under him had nothing but praise. He was a true professional and didn’t shy from letting me know what he felt. His emotional intelligence is high and his thirst for knowledge and self-improvement is something to admire. You may interpret these characteristics as a clash for those a little more relax but I thought it complimented the way our team ran and be are better off for 2017 because of him.
On behalf of everyone at Tennis Canberra I would like to thank you for your service and help over the past year. Personally watching you compete in the Osaka Triathlon was an experience I’ll never forget. You are a true professional and your attention to detail will take you beyond your own expectations. Make us proud man and be sure to visit all those you coached when you come back to the Nations Capital… because at the end of the day we’re #InItTogether.
The Summer of Tennis is around the corner and our team cannot wait to get out in the Sun for another term of coaching. Although there are many tennis academies around town we invite you to an environment that gives you an experience both on and off the court. Three-proud-years and Tennis Canberra is going from strength-to-strength. Apart from a coaching team that has both experience and credibility we do not limit our talents to the tennis court. As people and social beings we understand that our simple sport can be much bigger in a community-sense.
We respect our fellow colleagues in the tennis industry and we know how hard it is to be a tennis coach however to their credit our humble coaches and extended tennis family have “bought in” and created a culture like no other.
It is a social club that have seen so many friendships transpire. It doesn’t matter if you’re a junior or an adult playing for the first time, our welcoming environment and inclusion is the reason we’ve had success.
From weekly after tennis dinners, morning coffee club to community events we attend to help out our fellow man/woman we leave no stone un-turned. But don’t take my word for it come visit us, or even better participate in a lesson and join the incredible people we coach every week as them ask why Tennis Canberra is unlike any other tennis academy or club in Australia.
More Than Tennis – Serving up a life of love: James Thorp
To say tennis has been an important part of my life would be an understatement. The image of running to the tennis courts every lunchtime as a fresh faced grade seven student in the hopes of somehow giving myself a chance of getting a coveted spot on one of our two courts is forever etched into my mind. At the time I never could have imagined the places tennis would take me.
I quickly began playing tournaments outside of Canberra and my passions in life became evident. In the beginning it was local and regional tournaments but before long I was traveling around Australia and New Zealand playing national and junior tour tournaments while building friendships that I still have to this day.
As high school graduation approached it became evident that my dreams of playing on the senior tour were not going to happen and it was time to pursue other options. My ever growing love of travel coupled with my will to be successful on the tennis court led me to the US to play college tennis. Packing my life into a suitcase and a tennis bag and traveling to the other side of the world to live for four years as an 18 year old felt like a dream at the time. I look back on it now with a sense of pride and smile at where the wind has blown me since then.
Starting my freshman year in college brought with it a mix of nerves and excitement and while I experienced my fair share of ups in college tennis, they didn’t come without first suffering the lows. My freshman year in college was by far the hardest year of my life. I went to the States expecting to be greeted by beautiful girls, endless parties and huge amounts of success on the tennis court and in the classroom. Although I managed to be extremely successful in my academics while attending my fair share of parties, the rest of my expectations were not met. Instead what I was met with were impossible training sessions, constant matches spent sitting on the bench and a whole lot of yelling from my coach. It was hell and I wanted out. I turned my priorities elsewhere and used my Australian accent to my advantage to land myself my first real girlfriend. I thought I was happy but the truth is I was digging myself into a hole. After putting on my freshman 15kg and being kicked off the team for apparently showing a lack of dedication and work ethic, the hole finally got too deep when I broke up with my girlfriend at the time. I had told myself that was it, I was booking my flights and coming home- it was a nice dream while it lasted but I quit. Sitting in chemistry the next morning my plans changed completely when I got a message from one of my good friends telling me I could transfer to his school and play under a coach that had seen me win a high level junior tournament in Tasmania the year before. I look back and laugh at how casually I picked up my books and walked out of the classroom and out of the school.
My next three years were spent playing for South Dakota State University and although the weather was not entirely welcoming, my teammates and coaches were. My memories of South Dakota are some of the best I have. I earned a degree with a GPA I can be extremely proud of, won tennis matches I probably shouldn’t have and built relationships that I will have forever. My dreams of American college finally came to fruition. As my time at South Dakota came to an end I knew my playing days were over but I wasn’t done with tennis. I reached out to every single US College with a master’s program in exercise science and a tennis team in the hopes of being a graduate assistant coach. Thankfully my prayers were answered by head coach Tracy Mauntler at the University of Toledo.
The following two years were spent in Ohio as assistant coach to a division 1 women’s team. I was lucky enough to travel around the continental US and Puerto Rico attending coaching conventions and coaching and hitting with a team that ended up becoming quite successful. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity Tracy gave me and the doors that position has opened for me.
Upon graduating from my master’s course in 2015 a series of events led me back to Canberra and eventually to Tennis Canberra. Having the opportunity to coach next to people I have been friends with for years is something I cherish. The last three terms working for Tennis Canberra have shown me what it means to be part of a community where people care. This became extremely evident having Myles and Robbie join me in Osaka at the start of July to support one of my triathlon races. Having their support and seeing their pride in my race was something I will never forget. I am not one to get too emotional but it was impossible for me to put my appreciation into words. As with anything there are times of frustration but I completely believe we are a family. These feelings were confirmed in Japan.
I am excited to see my Tennis Canberra family out on court this term and hope to pass on some of the things I have learned along my journey. The topic of conversation when I speak to Robbie is often giving back. As term 3 commences I am determined to give back to a sport that has given me so much. A sport that is so wonderful that even without doing anything you’re surrounded by love.
More Than Tennis – Rocks n’ Diamonds: Robbie Manzano
More Than Tennis – Rocks n’ Diamonds: Robbie Manzano
Overwhelmed with the colourful people I interact with every single day I’m so blessed to be in a community that means more to me than you could possibly imagine. Tennis Canberra started from a tough time in my life and with a smile on the surface not many people knew the extent of suffering I went through during the darker times. I’m able to share my story now as I’m finally able to let go of past ties and move forward into something that I know is special to not just me but everyone involved.
Time for growth – I’ve been fired! (June 2013) Coaching casually since I was 16 I’ve always had a job in the tennis industry. Helping out almost every coach in Canberra in my 20s I decided to dedicate my services to one tennis academy for over 5 years. With the realization I wasn’t going anywhere and the minimal learning opportunities at the time I started looking for something with good intentions of finishing my role at a club I helped build. My plans were leaked from people I trusted and within 24-hours I was fired by guys I thought I had more than a business relationship with. With more of an emotional punch in the face rather than a ‘I don’t know what to do mentally’ lesson one of business was handed down to me as I never wanted anyone to feel what I felt that day. You should always be good to those that help you. This is what I live by today and 4-weeks later Tennis Canberra was established – well Prestige Tennis Academy Canberra…
So many rules in business – Why can’t it be about the tennis? (2013/14)
From one, to two, to seven classes a week momentum started to grow. Past players heard about my venture and the snowball started to grow (mind you it was a very cold July in 2013). A dream start for a young yet experienced tennis coach – and yes just a tennis coach. Summer of 2013/14 I quickly found owning a tennis academy isn’t just being a good coach and delivering great sessions. There is the legal-side of things and many people get very particular with what you promote. With the attainment of our proud name Tennis Canberra on great business advice from my friend and website designer heads quickly turned and my second lesson in business was presented in front of me – Don’t be bullied by the bigger guys you are entitled to owning great ideas! This wasn’t a easy “ignore and move on situation”, this was one of the most stressful times of my life which lasted beyond half-a-year. It got to a stage I was considering giving up as I wanted to promote the game I love but I had a bigger body who was meant to help us out doing the complete opposite. This debacle was cleared up just before Christmas of 2014 and finally my growing number of talented coaches could knuckle down and do our thing.
Whats that saying “the higher you climb the heavier the fall” (2014) – Worst year of my life… The climb…
Happy little Vegemites we were in the Summer of 2013/14. With some great people on the team and some amazing people that joined the club in 2014 we had the blueprint to have some fun and create a culture I’ve always envisioned. Personally I had a good partner, family liked me (they didn’t always) and business was running smooth. Thing were finally in motion and I was on cloud-nine! I was doing something I loved, I had skip in my step and had good people around me – just try and stop me world. The world answered and everything fell to shit on my 25th birthday.
August 9th marked the 1st Junior Club Challenge I’ve spent 6-months planning. The evening before the the event (my birthday) I came home to my brother in tears. Long story-short we got word our cousin Chrystal in Sydney was rushed to hospital – we all knew it wasn’t good. I called my cousin (her brother) who I did everything together growing up but wasn’t really speaking to each other at this stage of our lives telling me this is bad… and it was. Unfortunately our dear Chrystal attempted suicide that day and with doctors working on her through the night it was a waiting game to see if they could save her.
My parents headed to Sydney early morning and my brothers and I stayed back and proceeded to go ahead with the Junior Club Challenge the morning. It was a relaxing brotherly activity before we faced the toughest day of our lives. With the coaches alerted about our emergency there was no hesitation in shouldering the extra load that was placed upon them. With the success of the Junior Club Challenge my brothers and I made our trip to Sydney. Not many words were said in that 3-and-half hours.
Sadly, we got there a couple minutes before the doctors came out to deliver the news – Chrystal has passed away. These were the darkest days of my life and back to the tennis academy it was.
Things do come in 3’s – Forced goodbyes are never fun… (2014)
With everything happening with the passing of Chrystal I came back to a very supportive community. A week later a guy I went to University with died in a bus crash overseas and many emotions started to escalate.
My tennis family was my rock and those that saw me everyday saw the pain I was in. This did not stop them from doing everything in their power to support me and my family while delivering quality tennis lesson. I would go home early, I would be in the background when I was coaching with another coach and I wouldn’t be active on the admin side of things. The show went on and although I started drinking a little bit too much to deal with my grief and adding to the pain another slap in the face with my girlfriend at the time being forced to leave the country because of visa issues.
I can’t wait till 2016 – The aftermath… A year of darkness (2015)
With the toughest Christmas to date and the feeling of lost and nothingness this was the darkest time in my life. The crash of 2014 came with a never-ending ring in my head! With a few trips to visit the girlfriend in Philippines and Malaysia things just got too hard and on my 27th birthday that relationship ended while I was holidaying in New Zealand to be away from the 1st year of the passing of Chrystal. Life continued and the tennis academy was growing by the day. All the coaches grew into their own and with them in the dark about my emotional instability our tennis academy was in full swing. Anytime we’d get stuck someone would come through with the goods. We celebrated birthdays of clients, we attended charity events, we had fun! Everyday I was at tennis things were good, unfortunately I had to go home and I’d slip back into the deep corners in my mind usually by myself and alone. I don’t use a New Year as a turning point for anything however I needed this year to come to an end sooner than later.
Brighter Skies – Where there is rain, there’s a rainbow… somewhere (2am: 12.07.2016) I write this from Kuala Lumpur Airport after a missed flight to my next destination (that’s a story for another day). I now have a 13-hour layover to reflect and gather my thoughts. After spending a couple weeks with coaches – James and Myles looking back on what we’ve built and sustained through the tough times is something our team can be proud of.
It was great to see James compete in the Osaka Triathlon after watching him schedule our Tennis Canberra programs around his training. His passion, professionalism and dedication towards his Triathlon is something special and proud to have him as a coach at Tennis CBR. Spending 2 weeks with Myles (who I met playing tennis at 10 years of age) was mind-blowing. We looked back at the first trip we went to Rockhampton for Bruce Cup and couldn’t believe the different paths we took to remain in a sport we truly love – Thanks for your help over the years mate! With Avi steering the ship back in CBR while we recharge we can only see positives for the future of Tennis Canberra.
All our coaches and tennis family members have their own story on the impact tennis has on their lives. Mine is just one of many that can say tennis was and still is my everything. I have so much to give back to tennis and I hope this reflects within our tennis programs and tennis community.
I hope to use my experiences to inspire our future players and encourage those that never been on the court to give tennis a go as tennis is much more than a sport that you can play for life.
Over the next two terms you will be reading stories of some of our coaches and others in the tennis industry. I’ve got a fair idea on the journey many of us tennis players have had but looking back on my own journey who knows what we’ll learn. I’m looking forward to sharing these with you and hope you understand what we are building here at Tennis Canberra – we are more than tennis!